Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Four sailors rescued by Amver container ship

Four sailors were rescued by an Amver participating container ship after their sailboat lost steering 160 miles northwest of Bermuda on Sunday November 6, 2011.

The Elle, a 46 foot sailing yachts, was participating in the North American Rally to the Caribbean, from Newport to Bermuda, when they encountered gale force winds greater than 40 knots and 30 foot seas.

Rescue authorities in Bermuda received the initial distress call and U.S. Coast Guard rescue personnel agreed to assist in the search and rescue case. U.S. Coast Guard rescue personnel launched a rescue aircraft from Air Station Elizabeth City and diverted the 387 foot Amver participating container ship Oleander.

The Marshall Island flagged ship, on a voyage to Bermuda, was near the distress and Captain Jurszo agreed to diver and assist the sailboat.

"The Elle had lost her steering and we were helplessly adrift in the gale. In 30 to 40 knot winds and 30 foot seas Captain Jurszo expertly maneuvered the Oleander next to the Elle gently touching her side," stated Elle survivor Mr. Brian Finn. "Further complicating matters was the fact our mast was swinging wildly near his outside steering station, almost hitting him in the head," Finn added.

The rescue was not without additional challenges. "Things got even more challenging when I plunged in the ocean," Finn recalled in an email to the Amver office. "The crew reacted perfectly. They threw me a line that I tied onto my safety harness and they hauled me over the side. Thy successfully got us all on board!" he wrote.

The Oleander, managed by Bermuda Container Lines of Hamilton, Bermuda, enrolled in the Amver system in 1990 and earned 12 awards for participation.

Here are photos documenting the rescue operations.






Oleander & Elle Crew - Nov 7th 2011

Photo credits: Chris Melrose, NOAA
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